I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that seem outside the box.
Versatile actor Jorge Rodriguez
“What the hell?! Why only 5? OK…Focus. I’m excluding roles from my three favorite modern playwrights, LaBute, Guirgis, and Alegria-Hudes for the classics.”
5.) Richard III, by William Shakespeare. “I will always root for him because of the hand life dealt him. The odds were STACKED against him from birth. All he wants to do is prove people wrong. I would kill to help him do that, give him my all and make him my own. Plus: anything by Shakespeare is flat-out exhilarating to me.”
4.) Stanley Kowalski, A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. “When I was growing up in Mexico, one thing was very clear about the culture: you don’t f* with a man’s space. I would love to tap into the things I saw growing up in the culture and protect Stanley’s space. Also, Tennessee’s inspiration for Kowalski came from his MEXICAN lover Pancho Rodriguez. Wait: Rodriguez/Mexican, coincidence? NO! I have to play this role.”
3.) Father Flynn, Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley. “Though not a classic, it will be. Mariska Hargitay said the best work she’s ever done on SVU were the scenes she was most scared of. Not comparing myself to her at all, but this role terrifies me. In my opinion, there is only one thing as bad or worse than murder: molestation. It kills a part of a person’s soul forever. Figuring out exactly what Father Flynn did to that boy and in his past, coming to terms with it, finding the justification and fighting for his wants throughout the play would be one of the biggest challenges of my life.”
2.) Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. “Where I grew up there was one thing that let you to throw ANY rule book out the window: if somebody hurt or messed with a family member. This is Hamlet’s motivation. But a family member killed his father. WHAT?! Exploring these conflicting feelings, plus the self-identity questions and dealing with depression would make me lose my mind…get it?! All that, combined with the language, vocal, and physical demands would generate an orgasmic feeling for me onstage.”
1.) Biff, Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller. “Biff I covet most. Death was the first play I ever read. I had been in sales for years and thought the title was funny. It remains my favorite, and the best experience I’ve ever had in the theater: I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman play Willy Loman on Broadway and will never forget him running across the stage to his suicide. And there is no greater hero than Biff. Their father fractured he and his brother for life, yet he comes home to try to save his family (father included) and confront Willy, while yearning for love from him and his family. The specific type they need. Not the love Willy has sold for years. Biff has to break the cycle.”